The cast of "White Christmas" rehearses a dance from the musical. Rehearsals began at the end of September and run on average three days a week. Photo by Vince Camillo.

The musical’s change to a December date and holiday theme will bring Christmas spirit to UA. The UA vocal music department will present White Christmas on Dec. 2 – 5, 2010.

By Victoria Slater ’12

Come late February, students and community members typically await the presentation of the vocal music department’s annual and consistently successful musical. But this year, the department has brought a change to the musical’s traditional late winter date. The department will ring in the holiday season with White Christmas Dec. 2-5, 2010.

Director Eric Kauffman explained the change of date was decided for various reasons, but primarily for the Christmas theme.

“Although it is our tradition to do the musical in February, we really thought thematically we had to do it during the holiday season,” he said. “It’s all about the theme.”

Kauffman added that White Christmas was chosen over other musical choices not only for its theme, but also for its name recognition.

“[White Christmas] has a theme that everyone can really recognize and associate themselves with,” he said. “I was looking for something that would be very community friendly so that we can fill the house and sell a lot of tickets.”

According to the UA Vocal Music website, the story takes place shortly after World War II and centers on two Broadway producers during the Christmas season. The producers meet two beautiful dancers and travel to a lodge in Vermont to present a song-and-dance act; however, a few romantic misunderstandings happen along the way involving missing train tickets, love letters and lots of snow. With this coupling of romance and comedy,White Christmas is a cheerful holiday classic that provides an enjoyable show for the season.

As well as a holiday feel, Kauffman said that audiences can anticipate bright, festive costumes and a tap number that has not been used in a musical for the past few years.

“[The musical] will have costuming and sets that are very decadent,” he said. “It also has a tap feature which we haven’t included since Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2007.”

As rehearsals begin, senior Kelsey Overmeyer, who will be playing lead Betty Haynes, notes her excitement for the upcoming show. Overmeyer has been a part of every school musical since middle school, landing the lead role of Maria in West Side Story last February along with a speaking role in Damn Yankees (2009) and a part in the chorus of Jekyll and Hyde (2008). She is anticipating the changes she will face with White Christmas, as it is her first holiday-themed production.

“This year I’m looking forward to the different atmosphere of the show,” she said. “All of the other productions I’ve been a part of have taken place in February. I’ve never done a Christmas show at the high school.”

Overmeyer also said she is eager to spend time with her fellow cast members. She stated that, throughout her high school years, the cast has grown extremely close.

“The best part about being in a musical is just being with people who love to do what you do and feeding off their energy to play your part as best you can,” she said. “We always have so much fun on set and at rehearsals. We really become one cohesive group.”

Kauffman adds that, although the UA community is looking forward to this year’s musical’s change of date and theme, future musicals will be pushed back to their traditional late February presentations.

“We’ll keep the original February date in future years,” he said. “It just didn’t work out this year thematically.”

As a result, Kauffman expects audiences to enjoy the festive atmosphere White Christmas’ unique date will bring.

“The timing of the year­—the theme in general— has such a positive message,” he said. “The entire show is like Disney: very clean… and family oriented.”